Hutchesons' is delighted to maintain strong relationships with many schools and universities across the globe. Here Annie Gould, Maddie Marshall and Catherine Johnstone (all S4) reflect on a February trip to our partnership School in India, for a visit filled with educational and thought-provoking experiences.
Our trip began with a 24 hour journey- three planes, five people and only a pack of cards to keep us entertained. However the tiredness experienced by ourselves, Mrs Lamont, and Miss McArthur was soon forgotten with our first glimpse of Indian culture. You can imagine our excitement when the final plane touched down in Mangalore and we knew our Indian adventure was only just beginning.
Our first real Indian experience started with the drive. The peaceful Scottish roads felt like a distant memory, as the chaotic driving was too much for our tired bodies and minds to cope with. The constant honking of horns and the lack of lane keeping was something we all needed to get used to.
The guest house was a welcome respite, set in a beautiful location, a very short walk from a memorial garden and a café. We were greeted by a pupil from the school, a warm welcome and some Indian tea.
During our visit we were invited to sample many traditional Indian meals. The food was interesting, ranging from medium spice to throat annihilation. However we all enthusiastically tried everything on offer, despite initial impressions. We were overwhelmed by the spice of the food but nothing touched us as much as the kind nature of the Indian people.
On our first full day in India, we visited our partnership school, Dr. N.S.A.M. They gave us an unforgettable welcome into their school by pupils singing their national anthem and teachers in beautiful sarees. We were also presented with floral garlands. We visited all the classes and they serenaded us with traditional music and asked us lots of questions about Scotland. We were quite amused at the fact that they were baffled by the idea of snow. In the afternoon, the pupils showed us some Indian games and the school band played for us. We were impressed by the enthusiasm of the children and their desire to widen their horizons through learning.
We were intrigued by the traditions we saw all around Mangalore, the impressive scale and magnitude of the amazing temples was a favourite.
One of the most eye opening experiences for all of us on the trip was seeing how diverse their religion was, in that so many of the people we met were from different religious backgrounds.
A trip to the saree shop topped off our trip. We left the shop with sarees in hand feeling suitably satisfied with our purchases. Picking out our sarees from a wide variety of colours and patterns was definitely a highlight. However, the scorching 37 degree heat was unbearable in the heavy but beautiful sarees.
On our second last day the school performed a farewell ceremony, in which all classes sang, danced or did a drama sketch. One group even had us up on the stage for some games! We entertained them with some traditional ceilidh dancing and we joined Ms McArthur in singing Oh Flower of Scotland.
We even managed to fulfil our lifelong dream of seeing (the back of!) an elephant as it walked down the main road. We ended our trip to India on a high by visiting the beach house owned by the President of the Nitte education trust. The picturesque scenery was a bonus on top of a delicious meal to end our trip.
We would like to thank our hosts and staff for this once in a lifetime experience, an unforgettable visit to a wonderfully diverse and warm culture.